Gerven Oei, Vincent W.J. van
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To a large extent, the period between 1945–1990 in Albanian history, and the type of monumentality created during this period, is still unreadable to us today. This unreadability is partially the result of a politicization of the monumental heritage from this period, if not its entire historiography, as evidenced by the many conflicting descriptive adjectives launched like missiles into the past: “socialist,” “communist,” “dictatorial,” “scientific-stalinist,” “terrorist,” “totalitarian,” and so on. This situation, however, has led to a climate of insistent negligence, if not outright condemnation and destruction, as well as various gaps in the scholarly tradition attending to the various sorts of monumentality in the Albanian cultural landscape. The most recent overview of Albanian monumentality was published in 1973, entitled Përmendore të heroizmit shqiptar (Memorials of Albanian Heroism).1 This album was published as a part of the campaign of what then Secretary of the Central Committe of the Albanian Labor Party Ramiz Alia called “monumental propaganda,” being an integral element of the Cultural and Ideological Revolution. As a project, the Albanian Lapidar Survey (als), conducted by the Department of Eagles in 2014, aimed to give a first, and general, overview of Albanian monumentality from the period 1945–1990. As the title of this publication already suggests, als focused mainly on documenting a monumental form that in Albanian is called lapidar, although, as will be discussed below, we have also documented other forms. We have decided to leave this word untranslated, as it forms a category of monumentality that is as difficult to translate as it is to define. There are several issues we have had to deal with during our field work that touch upon the practical problems of defining lapidars as a closed and coherent category.
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